Two tennis coaches went to Cayman Brac last weekend to drill a contingent on the finer points of the sport.
About 20 enthusiasts, from age 3 to adults, joined Noel Watkins and Steve Surrey at the Layman E. Scott High School court on Saturday morning.
Hand-eye coordination exercises, drills, shot-making tips and explanations, plus plenty of running around and practice play made for an energetic three-hour coaching session, split into hour-long age-specific sessions.
The Brac program, which is sponsored by Walkers, uses mini courts to teach tennis. Thanks to Walkers, the island has its own set of portable tennis nets – slightly lower than a standard tennis net – plus shorter rackets and slower-than-standard balls, which makes it very easy to pick up the game, organizers said.
This type of mini tennis is endorsed by the International Tennis Federation.
Some of the youngsters being coached at the weekend are old hands, having initially picked up the game during introductory lessons at the island’s two primary schools and high school.
Others were new to the sport, their interest having been piqued by watching such top players as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Watkins, of Cayman Tennis Academy, has been visiting the Brac as part of the Walkers program for two years.
“The reception I get on the Brac is always so positive, and the kids are super-keen,” he said. “A really nice bunch of kids. This trip, we had a good turnout again. It’s clear that some of the kids have been practicing and making good progress. There’s plenty of talent out there.”
Watkins also thanked Brac teacher and Walkers program coordinator Michael Hundt for his efforts. “Mike puts in an admirable amount of work; lots of kids are having fun with tennis thanks to Mike.”
The next coaching visit is on May 16, when Steve Surrey will lead the coaching sessions.
“I’m hoping the kids are going to get out on court and practice hard between now and then,” said Surrey, whose long association with Lions swim meets means he’s already familiar with many Brackers.
The Walkers tennis program is overseen by the Tennis Federation of the Cayman Islands, with the support of local pros.
For more information, visit www.tfci.ky.